Tag Archive | Celtic

The Nagus

The Nagus is the first episode which features Ferengi culture in a big way, introducing us to Grand Nagus Zek, the overall leader of the Ferengi people who embodies everything that the Ferengis value – principally, greed and business acumen, so Capitalism personified, if you like, and Quark seems to worship him.


I really can’t stand Zek as a character although I do like the actor, Wallace Shawn – Vizzini from The Princess Bride. I’m sure he is meant to convey some important truths, beyond being a foil for Quark’s character, but he’s just way too annoying for me to notice. Plus I know there is a reference to the Godfather films, but I just don’t get it as I have never seen them. If anybody cares to explain why the Godfather is so popular, feel free. It’s not really on my radar. The nearest I come to watching gangster movies is Bugsy Malone.

Quark’s character development is interesting, as is Rom’s, who reveals himself to be far more devious than his brother had imagined, which thoroughly impresses Quark even though it nearly kills him!

The other interesting development, the sub-plot, is Jake’s friendship with Nog, and the way that Jake and Sisko’s relationship – even at this early juncture – is beginning to grow and change as Jake gets older and starts making his own choices.

I remember my middle son being horrified by Sisko’s apparent racism against Nog, not wanting Jake and Nog to be friends (not to mention the Bajorans’ continued racism against all Cardassians, amongst other examples), but drawing attention to racism and busting race and gender stereotypes is something that Star Trek has always done well. At least until JJ, but that’s another story.

I liked that, when Sisko asks Jadzia for parenting advice, she says “I’ve been a mother three times and a father twice,” but then admits that she was never really very good at it from either side. But then Sisko still takes her advice and chases after Jake to find out why he wasn’t at dinner!

While I was looking for different opinions on this episode, I found this interesting post:

But then I went off on a bit of a rabbit-trail, totally unrelated to DS9, to investigate the origin and meaning of the poster’s username, Andraste.


It turns out that Andraste was the Roman name of a Celtic goddess, Andred, invoked by the legendary Boudicca of the Iceni in her fight against the Romans in Britain, her name thought to mean ‘invincible’ in the Celtic tongue, and cognate with the Roman goddesses Andarte/ Andarta, Victoria and others.


In addition, Andraste is the name of a band from Manchester,
who describe themselves as being “Purveyors of Finest Folk Metal” (my favourite kind!)
Check them out on Soundcloud. I really liked their sound until the singing started. Sorry. Nice flute.


Finally, Andraste is also a character in the videogame DragonAge, which I’m guessing is from whence the poster took the name.

I haven’t really investigated video games very much at all – I’m just a bit too old to have caught it when it all got good. It was all still Commodores and Spectrums, Pacman and Space Invaders when I was young enough to have disposable income and time to spend on such things. But now all my kids are teenagers themselves, I might have another chance to explore. Hit me up with suggestions of good ones to start with!



It’s all nonsense, constable! I’m telling you, I knew the man.”
“But did you know the symbiont inside the man?”

– Sisko and Odo, discussing the murder charges facing Curzon Dax


This episode features the trial of Jadzia Dax for a murder which may or may not have been committed by one of her antecedent selves, previous hosts of the Trill symbiont she carries.

The trial is reminiscent of Data’s trial which is to determine whether or not he is legally ‘alive’ for the purposes of deciding whether or not ‘human rights’ to self-determination apply to him.

I had not realised that this episode happened so early on in the series, and I suppose that really it was included in order to explore the idea of what it means to be Trill. We learn that not all Trill are lucky enough to become hosts; indeed there is enormous competition for the privilege, and Jadzia is impressively accomplished in her own right with several academic degrees to her name.

We learn about her immediately previous host Curzon, who was a friend and mentor to Commander Sisko, and quite different to Jadzia as a sometimes drunken, philandering, badly behaved Trill versus Jadzia who was an innocent, prim and proper young woman before joining.

Being joined with a symbiont has the effect of combining the young Trill’s personality with elements of all its previous hosts – in other words, it changes her so she is a new person. But to what extent does this change affect the host Trill? Does the newly joined Trill become responsible for the actions of its symbiont or its previous hosts?

As it happens, Curzon had not committed the murder, and it all comes out in the wash, but the question is never fully resolved – Dr Bashir testifies on her behalf to say that that the joined Trill is a completely new person and should not be held responsible for anything that happened prior to her time as host.

In real life, the application might be to look at whether individuals can be held responsible for the actions of their parents or ancestors. Benedict Cumberbatch recently spoke about his ancestors having owned slaves. It’s a horrible thought. He is obviously not proud, but should he feel guilty? Assuming he is not still benefiting from the wealth his slave-owning ancestors made off the back of slaves, is it best to leave it all in the past? If his family does still benefit from that wealth on the other hand, should they be made to give it up? give it back? to whom? How can past wrongs be righted so many generations later? Is it even possible?

I was thinking about the skeletons in my family’s cupboard. It was rumoured that my great grandmother on my father’s side, after having six daughters, had conceived her last child, a son, with another man, and the husband may have been ‘bumped off’! I never met that generation, so I know nothing of their characters or if there is any truth in the rumour. But what if it was true? What if the inheritance of the father went to the son who wasn’t his? It’s entirely possible.

Also on my father’s side, my cousin claims that when he traced the family tree he found that, beyond our Celtic heritage in Ireland, we had actually been descendants of Norman nobility, going all the way back to the wicked King John. I rather like that one. That makes me royalty. Bow to me, peasants! Haha! Sadly, second sons (and daughters) never inherited the title or the wealth.

On my mother’s side, the claim was that my grandfather had been a wealthy man of nobility with a title and wealth to his name, but had to give up his inheritance to marry my grandmother. I have no idea whether or not it’s really true. (I think my grandmother thought he was a teller of tall tales.)

What about you? Do you have ancestors that you are proud of? Ashamed of? What do you think you might find if you trace your family tree?



I love this episode, it’s so funny. I’m not sure if it was meant to be humorous, but O’Brien and the others’ confusion of language tickles my funny bone. Perhaps I have a ‘warped’ sense of humour, I don’t know. Obviously the sudden aphasia is distressing to the speakers affected by it and to the people they are speaking to, who can’t understand it. But the dialog is just funny.

O’BRIEN: Major, larks true pepper.
KIRA: What?
O’BRIEN: Let birds go further loose maybe. Shout easy play.
KIRA: Chief, you’re not making any sense.
O’BRIEN: Round the turbulent quick. Well, close the reverse harbour. Ankle try sound. Reset gleaming. Dinner to bug.
KIRA: Chief, wait.
O’BRIEN: When?
KIRA: Chief!


Other than the obvious illness and epidemic (and perhaps biological warfare) there are no major themes in this episode really, although Kira’s kidnapping of Surmak Ren, exposing him to the aphasia virus was a huge breach of ethics. Luckily he is able to miraculously remember the formula and cook up an antidote in double-quick time, but if such a thing were to happen in real life, Kira would have gone to prison for sure.

But what of the aphasia virus itself, as a metaphor? It makes me think of gossip actually – the way one person starts something, perhaps a half-truth or a truth they have no business to share, and all of a sudden it spreads like feathers in the wind with no hope of possible containment, the original creator having no thought of the possible consequences or results of their indiscretion. If only there were an easy remedy. I really hate gossip. I’ve been on the receiving end of it a few times, and I have also once fallen into the trap of doing Dekon Elig*’s dirty work for him, spreading a half-truth that came back to bite me. Dekon himself by that stage was well out of harm’s way. I have never made the same mistake again, and won’t do in a hurry.

The other thing that is lovely about this episode is the touching scene between Jake and Sisko, when Jake becomes aphasic too. I love that the relationship between the actors is so genuine as well – I know that Avery Brooks says that he counts Cirroc Lofton as one of his own children. You can see the tenderness in this scene.


Oh! One thing of note – Odo says that he is able to catch Quark in his lie about the replicators because he said that Rom fixed them, and Rom is an idiot. Of course, later on it is discovered that although Rom is quite useless when it comes to the things most highly prized by Ferengis, namely commerce, he is in fact a genius when it pertains to engineering. Just a clue there that the writers didn’t have it all planned out and were in fact making it up as they went along. A bit like my life really. 🙂

Anyway, time for a bit of music! I would like to introduce you to a band you may not know, Treacherous Orchestra. A lot of their tracks are wild and crazy (they’re a lot like Salsa Celtica if you know them). But I thought I would share this very gentle track as a background to Jake and Sisko’s tender moment. Enjoy!

* Dekon Elig, the original creator of the virus, along with Surmak Ren.

Emissary part 1


On star-date 05.20.13, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was kidnapped by the Borg and was forced to lead an assault on Starfleet at Wolf 359. In that battle, Lt. Commander Benjamin Sisko lost his wife Jennifer. Now he has been reluctantly posted to DS9 to work alongisde Kira Nerys who will function as liaison between the Bajoran government and Star Fleet.

In this universe, for the purposes of this blog, Jean-Luc Picard (and sometimes the Borg) is the devil who causes all the yuck in my life.

Jennifer wasn’t Sisko’s wife, but rather his mother who died in May 2013 (hence the faked star-date above).

Oh, and Sisko and I are not just feuding colleagues but man and wife. And since the metaphor is not quite ideal to my real-life situation, Jake will often be replaced by four Ferengis, or a variety of other characters and races, depending on what fits. I will introduce them properly in the episode ‘Dramatis Personae’.

In my original blog on Open Diary, I wrote a series of posts about my life based on the first season of DS9. Some of the themes of the episodes seemed to bear a spooky resemblance to what was going on in my life, or at least my mind. But it may just be that I became so immersed in the story that I began to see my life as Kira’s. When I look back it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was at the time, and I don’t honestly know why I was so hostile to Sisko. Our real-life situation is much worse right now than it ever was then (between 2006 and 2008) but our relationship is actually much better than it was.

Act One

So in Star Trek DS9, neither Sisko, Jake or Kira are happy to be posted to the DS9 Space Station – which is after all in Deep Space – but Sisko is trying to make the best of it, and encourages Jake to do the same. Kira isn’t specifically bothered about being on DS9, her objection is to Star Fleet’s involvement, and she makes that very clear, very rudely! In real life, it was Sisko’s idea to bring us all here.

The Ferengis weren’t happy to begin with, but they have got used to it – they love the Wormhole, and they are now far too settled to move back to Bajor. Family and friends are still there, and even though they are lonely (no kids their own age), they want to stay. I on the other hand objected to the move. I miss my family and friends terribly and although, alright I do actually love the Wormhole now (which, by the way, is the Atlantic Ocean) and I know I would miss it if we were taken away from it, I object strongly to being moved without my consent, and haven’t been able to get used to my new life. I am making him sound like a tyrant, but in fact he took me away from a very unhealthy, emotionally toxic situation. it was for my own good. But it was very painful.

In real life, when we moved here in 2011, I didn’t shout and fight and feud with Sisko (that season of our relationship was for the years previous to our move), but I cried a lot for months, moped around the house, pleaded with him to take us back. But failing that, I learned that pleading didn’t work and our old life was not there for us to go back to (more on that in another episode). I am not happy, but instead of fighting to control a situation that is out of my hands, I am turning to my spiritual life for serenity. Not sure if it’s working really, but I will let you know.

Act Two

In DS9, Sisko meets with Jean-Luc Pickard to object to his assignment and request a move anywhere else. It’s a tense meeting because Pickard was responsible for Jennifer’s death. He can’t forgive him, and lets him know it.

In real life this never happened because in fact Sisko himself is the devil in the sense that he was responsible for moving us here. it was his choice, this was what he wanted. That’s not to say of course that Sisko was in any way responsible for the death of Jennifer his mother, far from it. But he did have the opportunity to go and see her and say goodbye before she died, but he refused – finding the situation emotionally intolerable. I will elaborate on this in another episode, but in another emanation where I see myself as a passionate Klingon, he is the emotionally repressed Vulcan. That has changed somewhat, but it still permeates our relationship.

Where I am an irrepressible, red-headed Celt, he is a cool Scandinavian. In fact he does have a deep, dark svårmod river of passion, joy and anger running below his icy exterior, but it rarely shows.

Act Three

At this point, Bajor’s spiritual leader, Kai Opaka, is introduced along with the Orbs, the ‘tears’ of the Prophets.

I think that in the original blog, I glossed over this part, but I will mention that my spiritual mentor – the person I most respected and to whom I would always turn to with questions about Life, the Universe and Everything, the person who most understood and shared my tastes (except perhaps in music – see below, he wouldn’t have approved), whose opinion I valued above all others, was my Dad. I have already mentioned him – when I was very young I believed he played Spock in Star Trek’s Original Series. It was he who introduced me not only to Star Trek but to the love of all things science and science fiction. If you know DS9 well you will know that Kai Opaka does not last long as a character and her passing was devastating. My Dad died in early 2011 and the world has never been the same.

I’m not sure I have a use for the Orbs yet as a metaphor – but if I think of anything, I will let you know and weave them in to the story!

Act Four and Five

I will have to leave Acts four and five for another day, as I am very tired now and will give myself a headache if I go on. I hope you have enjoyed reading my ramblings as much as I have done writing them.

My soundtrack to writing this post was Metallica’s excellent and underrated album ‘And Justice For All’ – if you happen to appreciate that sort of thing, please enjoy. If you can’t stand it, I won’t make you listen. Awesomely, it co-incidentally finished just about the time that I was finishing up the post. 😀

Celtic Homeschooling

It is no secret that one of my greatest joys is the discovery of Celtic Christian spirituality.

When we left the city, I was no longer able to attend a Messianic congregation, so I was essentially presented with three options: Anglican, Methodist or stay at home.

For most of the first three years, I stayed at home. Eventually I tried the Methodist and didn’t like it, but then I tried the Anglican and found that for various reasons, I loved it, and then out of Anglicanism I stumbled on Celtic Christianity, and I fell in love. 🙂

For anybody not familiar with Celtic Christianity, here are just some of its essential elements:

– A hopeful, positive outlook
– Love for nature and the outdoors
– An admiration and enjoyment of great stories, whether heard, read, or seen
– An emphasis on the ties that bind—kinship, friendship, anamchara (soul friend or mentor), community, and hospitality
– A lack of authoritarianism and compulsion, and thus freedom of conscience

What does this have to do with home education, I hear you ask?

Well, gradually it has dawned on me that one of the reasons that I feel so at home in Celtic Christianity is that I am by nature Celtic – both by ethnic heritage and by temperament – and it got me wondering about Celtic education.

As one does, when one suspects one has an original idea, I googled Celtic homeschool, and of course it does already exist, but in much the same way as the Celtic peoples and languages, it is small and on the fringe. It hasn’t been taken up in a big way like Classical (Latin / Roman / Greek) education has been. (Take a look at my page on Celtic homeschool above for links.)

I plan to write a longer post to discuss what Celtic home education might consist of, but for now let me suggest the following ideas:

– An emphasis on oral, rather than the written word
– Storytelling
– Celtic languages
– Celtic history and geography, preferably through hands-on, living experience
– Music, especially Celtic folk music, preferably through hands-on, having a go at playing and learning through doing
– Irish dancing
– Nature study
– Learning outdoors

That’s just a quick list of the top of my head, and I’m sure there is more that could be considered. But you can probably see immediately that there is some overlap and affinity with Charlotte Mason education (and although it is less obvious, I have also seen a deep affinity with Jewish thinking and being and learning), and I think that is one of the things that has made the whole concept of Celtic education appeal to me. It’s not a huge step away from what we are currently doing and what we have always naturally leaned towards.

Having moved house again, this time to a new build, we have been left once again (for six weeks so far) without telephone, internet and – because we only access it via the internet – television.

It has been painful, but it has forced us to look for other styles of entertainment, and we have found ourselves naturally singing more, listening to music more, making music more, talking more, reading more aloud, and it has struck me that this has been a natural (though enforced) move towards a Celtic kind of lifestyle, and it is something I would love to maintain and encourage even when (if!) we have our technological services restored.

On that note, I will leave you with a quote from Ian Bradley’s lovely book “The Celtic Way”:

“Only by recovering the Celtic values of imagination, instinct and identification with nature […can we…] have any real hope of breaking out of the alienation and exile caused by technology…”

Moon Child


Just a quick post to tell you a little bit about my new NaNoWriMo project this year.

I am writing what is evolving to be a mixture of murder mystery, adventure and tragic love story, all set at the end of the neolithic age, and covers the height and breadth of Britain, and of course it does feature some of the most prominent neolithic sites such as Stonehenge.

“The high king of Albion is murdered, and his daughter must solve the mystery, apprehend the murderer and sacrifice her greatest love to take on the mantle of her father to lead her people into a new era.”

I am taking rather a lot of liberties, and now that I know what it is, it might even qualify as ‘speculative’ fiction, since I am speculating that the people of the late neolithic age allowed almost equal status to women as to men, that these people were basically Celtic, though from an earlier wave of Celtic immigration than the Celts we know, and that they remembered their ancestors right back to Noah and the Ark. So I am using the traditional names and ideas from Geoffrey of Monmouth and others of the early inhabitants being known as the Samotheans, after their founder Samothea, and the island being known as Albion after the ‘giant’ who invaded the island but who was later defeated.

It is obviously not a ‘Christian’ novel, as it pre-dates the Christian era considerably, and it has quite a different feel to the novel that I wrote in 2012, which was very religious in content by the end of it, but that really was a cathartic process for me and included autobiographical elements – the loss of babies, moving to a new land, the depths of disappointment and despair and finding hope and new meaning and purpose in God. (That last part, to be honest, was rather speculative itself.) I did not like that book when Nanowrimo was finished, and I have not yet gone back to edit or complete it; actually I suspect it may need a complete re-drafting, and I have never showed anybody what I wrote. It was just a little bit too deeply personal and painful.

This time, hopefully, I am writing a book I would enjoy reading. It has the similar themes of tragedy and triumph, but this time I hope to enjoy the adventure a bit more.

I am downplaying the pagan elements, so it may not appeal to everyone – there is no human sacrifice, nor do the people worship the celestial bodies. These are a people who know that the sun and moon are created bodies, that there is a creator, but they know nothing of him. I also speculate that these early people did, contrary to accepted notions, have a written language, but that they used leather to write on and therefore we have no record.

So anyway, I am having a bit of fun with pre-history, basically.

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I won’t have time to post regular updates on how I’m doing, though I may post again at the midpoint, and I will be posting word updates to twitter.

Here is a little excerpt, to give you a taster. After the murderer has committed the main murder, he then goes on to kill both the witnesses:

“Almost instinctively, he had reached for his dagger and had slain the second man before he had even consciously known that he had the dagger in his hand. But now Zaidar had lain Franek down, covering his eyes one final time, and stood to face the foe. The two men stood still for a moment, opposing each other in the moonlight, and the stranger knew at that moment that he had a choice – if he allowed this man to run and raise the alarm at the settlement, he would have no hope, no chance, no future. He knew that he only had one choice: kill the man and escape.”

Let me know what you think! Are you Nano-ing? What is your genre?


I know, I know, nothing for months and then three posts in one day! I apologise, and do plan to get organised and blog regularly from now on…. maybe.

September has been nice and short for us as we went away in the second week, so our ‘Week 1’ starts in the middle of the month.

Week 1: 15th-19th September

We had a fairly good start the first few days, with some ‘Morning Time’ and ‘Table Lessons’ but mostly either one of the children or I was too tired to do much of what I had planned for the afternoons so we have mostly watched documentaries for our Middle Ages project.

The main challenge has been getting up earlier after such a long holiday.

We did have a couple of outings though – once to an informal home ed group meet-up (at the park), and once to Launceston Castle.


Launceston Castle is a great ‘English Heritage’* site to start off our Middle Ages project. It is a classic example of a Norman motte and bailey castle, which would originally have been made from wood and was later rebuilt in stone around the 1200s.

English Heritage were very friendly and accommodating – as long as it is in term time and you book at least 7 days in advance, home educators go free.

Week 2: 22nd-26th September

This week has seemed a lot less productive, and the problems with getting up early (and not wanting to go to bed earlier to make getting up earlier easier) haven’t improved so far.

One outing this week, a music session with our local home ed group. My children didn’t join in (their friends weren’t there for one thing). But the music man was excellent and he’ll be coming back so hopefully they’ll enjoy it more next time.

Having the freedom to opt out if they want is one of the advantages of home education. (I remember no end of compulsory activities at school, which achieved little but to make me inappropriately compliant, so it is something I resolved never to do to my own children. It seems something very important in this day and age that children should not feel afraid to say no if they feel uncomfortable.)

There are two more days of September but I’ll count next week with October.

*All of the ‘English Heritage’ sites I have visited in Cornwall have had the word ‘English’ scratched out. Whilst I don’t approve of vandalism, I can completely understand it. Cornwall, whether recognised or not, is a Nation. It is not England, and it is inappropriate and offensive to Cornish people to call sites in Cornwall ‘English’. I happened to notice that there is a group called ‘Cornish Heritage’ which has only a few sites. If the government has any sense, they might consider approaching Cornish Heritage to see if they can work together so than English Heritage sites in Cornwall can rather be known as ‘Cornish Heritage’ sites. #justsaying